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BookTok: A Trend to Watch Out For in 2023

Social media has become a leading force in marketing and advertising, especially for self-published authors. Nowadays, when a young person is looking for book recommendations, they are more likely to visit TikTok for potential reads. Here’s what to know about the book community in TikTok, a.k.a. “BookTok.”

First off, what’s TikTok?

Unless you are totally off the grid, you have at least some ideas about TikTok. If not, there is no need to worry; here’s a crash course just for you!

TikTok is an app that lets users create, share, and watch fifteen-to-sixty-second videos shot from phones or webcams. The app features a personalized feed of short videos set to multiple features like music and sound effects. The app is known for its addictive quality due to its unique algorithm and feed features.

As of 2021, the app has over a billion users, making it one of the most popular social media apps.

What is BookTok?

On TikTok, people can make short skits, funny videos and advertise their products and services. However, the app also has subcommunities that focus on niche topics. BookTok, focuses on books and literature.

Creators in this subcommunity (known as “BookTokers”) usually make reviews reviewing, recommending, and even joking about the books they read. While the genres vary, some of the ones that thrived on the app include Young Adult fiction, fantasy, and romance.

BookTok’s Influence on the Publishing Industry:

While it’s easy to dismiss the trend of TikTok as part of the culture of the youth, it’s hard to ignore the numbers when it comes to sales. In fact, according to the World Economic Forum website, at least 825 million printed books were bought in 2021 in the United States alone. The impact is also apparent when you notice brick-and-mortar shops displaying “BookTok books” or “BookTok recommendations” for potential buyers.

Sales aren’t the only thing that famous BookTok recommendations are boosting. In fact, writers who have published their books in the previous years noticed a sudden rise in interest thanks to TikTok. With the global pandemic urging people to stay inside, many young people have taken it up to TikTok to share what they are currently reading. Authors like Madeline Miller (“The Song of Achilles”), Colleen Hoover (“It Ends with Us”), and Adam Silvera (“They Both Die at the End”) have also benefitted from this phenomenon.

What’s In Store for the Future?

While it’s easy to dismiss the trend of social media as a passing phase, industry experts are not ignoring its endurance. Big publishing houses like HarperCollins, MacMillan, and Simon & Schuster are joining the app for market research. Some publishers are also joining the app to look for authors on TikTok to contact.

Still, it’s too early to tell. While BookTok has kicked off during the lockdown, we still have another year before we can safely say if it will last a lifetime. Nevertheless, suppose you’re social media savvy. If you would love to reach a wider audience and have creative ideas to market your book, downloading TikTok on your phone is worth a try!


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